Did I make a "career limiting decision" by going with a MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by gwerhart0800, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #1
    I had the flexibility to purchase a 17" MBP in 2008 when my work Dell laptop was up for "renewal". (One of the benefits of being in a research organization and not part of the standard corporate infrastructure.) At the time, I had the company purchase Applecare and all seemed well. Now, one of the cooling fans is failing and I am trying to get it repaired. So ...

    1. I use the Apple Support page to find a local repair place in Fort Collins, CO called "Mac Shack". I call them ... they say 3-5 days to fix it. WTF??? They tell me that they do not stock parts and will diagnose the issue, then order the parts from Apple, then repair the laptop and return it to me. They offer to "expedite" the repair for $50.

    2. I use the apple support site to create a "repair ticket" and request them to call me. My description indicates that one of the cooling fans screams like a banshee when I turn on the system, but eventually quiets down. If the laptop heats up and the fans speed up, it returns. I get my call back and the gentleman on the phone explains that he can make appointment at the Apple store in Boulder, CO for the repair. I ask if they can ensure that it will be repaired while I wait. He states that he does not have visibility into what parts the store has and gives me their phone number and tells me to call and ask. (Boy, I am feeling the love here!) So, I wait 5 minutes (at the recommendation of the customer service rep) and call the store. After a short wait, I get connected to a tech who tells me that they do NOT have the fan in stock and that he can order it and it will be in in a day or two. They will call me when the part comes in and arrange a time for me to drive down there for the repair.

    Now, my time is not cheap. When I used Dell laptops in the past, the company purchased the next day/on site repair service. I have used it several times and it was always next day and they always repair what ever was wrong without issue. With Apple, I have no idea when I will be able to get this repaired and two, I have to travel to Boulder which is over an hour drive each way, wait at the store for a hopeful repair. The price for the Applecare was about what we paid for the next day/on site from Dell. I have not been able to find ANY method of getting the same service from Apple for any price. There is a web page that comes up when you search Google for "Apple on site service" http://www.apple.com/support/products/premium/onsite.html but it was not offered to me when I check my warranty coverage and the CSR that I talked to at Applecare did not know of any on-site service unless I was more than 50 miles from the nearest Apple Service center.

    At this point, the loss of productivity from having my laptop repair in limbo could be a career limiting decision. Needless to say, I will not be able to chose an Apple laptop next time if I can't ensure that I can get timely repairs.

    Oh, and one final point, when Dell (IBM actually serviced the laptop) did the on-site, I was present at all times and I was sure that there was no chance of any of the corporate data on the laptop being compromised. Now, with Apple, they will take it into the back and it will be out of my direct control. So, I will have to back up the HD, scrub the drive before taking it in for repair or risk leakage of corporate intellectual property.

    So, does anyone know how to get the "Premier" on-site service from Apple?
     
  2. polotska macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #2
    Sadly, what you have discovered is correct—Apple's on-site repair services are quite limited in comparison to those offered by the better manufacturers in the PC world.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #3
    Well, while I don't believe there is anything like the next day repair that I've seen in te PC world, I think if one were to rely so heavily on their machine they'd have a redundancy plan in place for this very reason.

    Career limiting? I guess so.
     
  4. omenatarhuri macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #4
    On the other hand their repair times are very short in comparison to many PC brands, that at least in Europe, actually send the computers to other countries for repairs and it takes days or weeks to get the machine back.

    But you can't beat on-site, that's for sure.
     
  5. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #5
    There are always trade-offs
    But I agree with jessica., if you can't be without your computer, you have to have some kind of redundancy plan
     
  6. SecretAsianMan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #6
    If you want to ensure no stoppage of work, you need to keep a second system around for backup.

    This is a big mismatch between Apple's consumer-oriented ecosystem and the needs of business use.
     
  7. AppleMayhem macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #7
    In Apple's defense, when you had "On Site" service from Dell, they still had to Fed Ex parts to an installer, and then the installer would come to your door. I was using an Alienware machine for a while, and had one of the fans for the GPU fail. It was fixed two days later.

    We had our daughter spill coke all over a Macbook Air, and I dropped it off at a local Apple store for repair. It was repaired and ready for pickup two days later.

    No, Apple didn't come to my door. I had to make two round trips.

    However, I can't tell you how many PCs have failed me or how many times Windows has gotten infected with whatever garbage is floating around. And bofore someone starts crying that I don't know what Im doing, I surf all the wrong places, I don't know what AV or anti spyware to run....I am both MCSE certified and ACSP/ACTC certified current with Snow Leopard. I support enterprise scale environments that use both platforms. And if productivity is what matters to you, hang your hat on OSX. Uptime will be over 99%.

    Apple *does* need to address onsite support.
     
  8. polotska macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #8
    My experience with PC on-site support (primarily ThinkPads) has been quite different than what you describe. Technicians arrived the same business day with parts in hand and completed the repair within hours of contacting support.
     
  9. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #9
    I have heard good things about this type of service
    How much does it typically cost?
     
  10. polotska macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #10
    If I remember correctly, the 3-year plan with on-site service for my last ThinkPad was around $200. They also offer far more service plans than Apple, with both shorter and longer duration, on-site or depot service, accidental damage coverage, etc.
     
  11. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #11
    If you want On-Site support and On-Site fixes, then Apple is probably not for you. However, usually, Apple have pretty good quality products.

    It's really a trade-off for style/luxury vs business class. You can either get great On-Site support or a laptop you like/love. Most of the time you can't have both.
     
  12. SecretAsianMan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #12
    The HP EliteBook I am considering for my Windows work comes with three years on-site support at no extra cost. You can pay more for longer protection and additional services like data recovery. Personally, I would probably add the $99 option for accidental damage protection.

    The luxury support option is simply to have a second Apple computer ready to go.
     
  13. smithmax13 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #13
    If you are still able to use your computer with this issue, then why not have a store order the parts and take it in when the have the parts in for you.

    The other choice is to mail your laptop in, I've had mine back to me 2 days after I mailed it (shipped Monday, got it back Wednesday).

    Also, you knew Apple Care doesn't provide onsite support, so maybe you should have had a backup plan instead of blaming apple.
     
  14. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #14
    Dell's next business day on site support, (which usually became 4 days of downtime as my computer had a knack for breaking on a friday and wasn't fixed until monday...) cost an additional $19 on top of the one year mail in warranty.
     
  15. redsxtreme macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #15
    I've had this problem before on a old gaming PC. I took canned air and sprayed it all in the fans and the cracks, and it instantly slowed the fans down and cooled down a lot. It's worth a shot? It could just be something stuck in there.
     
  16. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #16
    Hum, this MBP cost ~$3000 when purchased new ... that was double what I would have paid for a Dell laptop from the corporate borg list of machines. Given our continual cost containment environment, there is no way I could have said that I needed two of these just to be sure I had a "redundancy" plan. I never had to have that kind of "redundancy" with the previous work laptops I had. I have had next day service on Dells ... believe me, it worked and was very easy compared to the pain I am getting trying to get what is a simple repair from Apple. While the Apple service tech and the CSR at Applecare were pleasant and spoke English as a native language, I am still stuck with no next-day/on-site service for (what appears to be) any price.

    So, career limited is trying to "depend" on a product that does not have a known deterministic repair path. As much as I hate Windows, I may be stuck with it. (Linux does not have the Office integration at a level that meets the corporate requirements.)
     
  17. cmanbrazil macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    #17
    If it is a deal breaker for you, than it is a deal breaker. I have taken my mac to micro center and got it repaired much cheaper then apple-but this wasn't applecare either. However, best buy and micro center have repair plans you can buy for mac, at least that is what I remember.:confused:

    I am not the biggest fan of apple service, especially if it is out of warranty. However, as a business person, I never rely on one computer, and I always back up my machine, so If it goes down, i switch to an imac until it get repaired. I do the same thing with my pc's at my office. I back up on the server.

    Apple has its strengths and weaknesses. Serving business customers, especially at the apple store is a weakness, but the stability of the operating system is a strength that has kept me far more productive than using pc's.
     
  18. sth macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    The old world
    #18
    Apple doesn't really have on-site service. If you need that, I'd probably stay away from Apple.

    Still, I don't know why that is "career limiting". If you can't afford a short downtime, get a backup system. And that has nothing to do with Apple, just a general rule. Even on-site services can get it wrong sometimes.
    If you are close to a deadline, even "next day service" can be a day too long.

    Other than that: If you have a good Apple Service Provider nearby, repair service is excellent compared to most manifacturers. E.g. when my MBPs graphics card failed* last year, I called my local ASP and less than 24hours later my MBP had a new logic board in it.


    *It's a 2006 MBP, so it wasn't the "usual" 8600M-issue
     
  19. SecretAsianMan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #19
    I feel your pain. In your case, owning an Apple product is probably a mistake. The product line is not optimized for your needs.

    I would recommend a business-class notebook from HP (ProBook, EliteBook), Lenovo (ThinkPad), or Dell (Latitude, Precision), with a next-day on-site support plan of appropriate length. You might be able to continue using Mac OS X via virtualization; I haven't tried it yet, but I read that it is possible. Be aware that there might be legal implications of doing so. (IANAL)
     
  20. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #20
    For notebooks, no. But they can desktops.
    The coverage area is a little lame (though i'm in one of the cities) but I can also see an Apple store from my window so I'm good either way lol.

    I too am a little bummed that there is no onsite available for the mbp. Working in IT, I know how convenient as we've had servers that had ram modules, hard drives or whatever expansion card die , and having HP/Dell/whoever come out and throw in some new hardware within 4 hours.
     
  21. phishindsn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2009
    #21
    I would call Applecare again and demand on-site. The only problem with on-site if they come out with the part, they will replace the part and that is it. The do not do any type of troubleshooting, they just replace the part. IF that apple care rep will not do this ask for someone from "Corporate Customer Care Administration" department.
     
  22. sth macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    The old world
    #22
    I didn't know that, thanks for the clarification. :)
     
  23. 6-0 Prolene macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #23
    If your job depends on having a computer at all times, I would say 1. don't make a notebook of any kind your primary machine, and 2. If you have to have a notebook (Windows OR Mac) either have 2 of them, or keep a desktop around as well. That's completely regardless of what company is providing the support or how good it is.
     
  24. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #24
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=31133

    I struggle to see how Apple can compete without upgraded service for Enterprise laptop users. Lots of folks commenting on this topic have either stated that I should have a backup plan or I should never consider an Apple product for Enterprise use. (I do back up my system regularly via Carbon Copy Cloner and my source code is held in a SVN code store.) But my only other Apple computer is a Mac Mini that is a home system that serves music and movies to an Apple TV and is my GP home box. Since I am the first Mac user in my department, there is no "old" Mac laptop to borrow if this one fails like there would be if I were using a Windows based laptop. I am also limited in that I am not allowed to use a non-company owned computer on the corporate network ... so it has to be this laptop or another owned by the company. Apple has been making inroads in my company, we are spread out across the world, a tiny minority of the more than 21K employees.

    I will also state that even for home systems, I want a deterministic repair process that is better than the "drop it off" for 3-5 days plan, the mail it in plan or the one I am in now ... the we don't have the parts in stock and we will call you when they come in plan. In a perfect world, my MBP would never need repair and I would chug along blissfully ignorant, but the world is far from perfect!

    BTW, as a disclaimer ... I posted comments on the ZDnet article. I was rather pissed at the time and I am still not happy with the situation I am stuck in.

    Also, the career limiting part is probably not a total risk. I once had a director when I was at Bell Labs in the 80's that made that statement when we were all waiting on an airplane that was overbooked. They were offering $300 to take a later flight. One of my co-workers was pondering jumping on it when the director called it a "career limited decision".

    The Applecare CSR stated that they will consider on-site for laptops if you are >50 miles from a service center ... I am 37 miles and an hours drive from the Boulder, CO store. (Of course, they would prefer that you mail it in if you are remote.) As pointed out, if the original diagnosis was incorrect, then the tech might not have the needed parts, but a my experience shows, it looks like the store may not have the parts either. With the $$$ Apple has in the bank, you would think they could afford to carry a bit more repair parts in stock without killing their enormous profits.

    The other point that has been missed on this thread is the data security aspect. If I take my machine into Apple, or I mail it to them, then it will be out of my direct control for a period of time. I am going to check with my corporate security office, but I am guessing that I will have to backup my stuff and scrub the drive before I can get it repaired. One of the other benefits of on-site is that I can watch it being fixed and certify that no corporate data assets have been compromised. I don't see how I can ensure that if the tech takes the machine to the back to repair it. I am not saying that an Apple tech would do anything bad, but my corporate security rules put constraints on how data on my system gets handled.

    Hum, I work from home 3 days a week and in an office 2 days a week. Before the budget cuts, I would be on-the-road for a week or more every other month. When we are doing technology trials I would be traveling even more. So, #1 is not reasonable or possible. #2 is sensible but, the cost for maintaining a "hot spare" system (desktop or laptop) is a big productivity hit. I don't have a pool of Apple equipment to pull from and swapping back and forth between Windows and a Mac takes way too much time. (It would help if Microsoft would migrate email/address book/etc between Win Office and Mac Office without the crap I had to do to move my e-mail folders from Win to Mac when I covered more than a year ago.)
     
  25. hellojamie macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Location:
    Texas
    #25
    I've had great luck in dealing with Apple. My Macbook had a trackpad problem just before Christmas. It was Christmas Eve when I initially called and I was told since so many people were out of the office I might not have anyone get back to me until the 26th. I was completely okay with that, but my customer care representative called me within an hour to set up everything for my replacement. They even offered to courier shipping labels to me since I didn't have access to a printer.

    I've been very impressed whenever I've had to deal with AppleCare, both on my computer and when my iPod batteries crapped out. The nearest Apple store is 3 hours from me, so yes, I do have to mail everything off, but they always pay for overnight shipping either DHL or FedEx, and within two days they have my stuff back to me (as well as a very detailed tracking of where my stuff is while it's gone.)

    I have had much worse luck with PC- trying to get my HP fixed over the holidays through Best Buy was horrific, and it took over three weeks to get my computer back. I know that's Best Buy and it has its own set of problems, but I've not once had a problem dealing with Apple and every time I had to deal with Best Buy it was a huge problem.

    My suggestion: pick up the phone and call, rather than just doing everything online. It may seem simpler just to do it yourself, but letting Apple "handle" you by assigning you a case representative (that keeps you updated, and whom you can later call if you have problems/questions) and take care of the shipping/fixing details is super easy and stress-free.
     

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